Apocalypse Now: Mobile Apps for Disasters

Apocalypse Now:  Mobile Apps for Disasters

Between the earthquake that rocked Colorado three weeks ago, the one that cracked the foundations of the Washington Monument three days later, and the hurricane that flooded parts of Maine and Vermont and left most of the northeast without power for days, it’s been difficult lately not to feel at least a little bit doomed.  For those of us personally affected by this recent spate of natural disasters, on the other hand, we’ve come to discover just how useful our mobile devices can be.

We can skip past the obvious benefits of having a smartphone during a crisis—internet access, integrated flashlight, the fact they can be recharged in a car—which most users already know about.  Consider, rather, an app like BuddyGuard.  Upon pressing the panic button on the home screen, the app records sound, takes photos every ten seconds, and broadcasts GPS coordinates to everyone in the emergency contacts list.  And not only might it save your skin in a pinch, but it will also do so for free.

It might also be wise to consider any number of first aid mobile apps currently on the market, considerately compiled by the folks at Tech News Daily.  If you have any skepticism about the effectiveness of such apps, just ask Dan Woolley, who managed to bind two severe wounds and save his own life while trapped under a pile of rubble after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, all thanks to his iPhone.

Ideally, of course, it would be nice to make use of your mobile apps before you find yourself beneath a pile of rock and the good news is that FEMA developed a disaster preparedness app.  The app allows users to verify their emergency kits, set up emergency meeting locations, access maps of local disaster relief shelters, and receive up-to-the-minute updates concerning whatever tectonic or meteorological nastiness is headed your way.

Have an idea for a disaster-related app?   Send me an e-mail – we’ll connect you with three experienced app developers and get you started on turning your idea into a working mobile app.

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